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Macron faces no-confidence votes over pension reforms

French President Emmanuel Macron could face votes of no-confidence on Monday, after his decision to force through unpopular pension reforms sparked protests across the country and criticism from lawmakers.

Macron’s government is likely to survive the motions, and will remain president regardless of the result, although the anger against the reforms shows no sign of receding.

The French government triggered special constitutional powers last Thursday to push through the controversial legislation to raise the age of retirement from 62 to 64 for most workers.

Last Friday, French lawmakers filed two motions of no-confidence against the Prime Minister, one from a group of small parties, and one from National Rally, a far-right party.

In order to be successful, the majority of sitting lawmakers totalling 287 of them would need to vote in favour.

If successful, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne would have to resign and the pension reform legislation would be rejected.

This would leave French President Emmanuel Macron with the option to either replace the prime minister or dissolve the parliament.             

The move to oust Macron’s government is believed to be unlikely to succeed, however, since the pension reforms also have the support of the Republican party, making it harder for the rest of the opposition parties to get the absolute majority needed.                 

France has the lowest retirement ages in the industrialized world, and also spends more than most other countries on pensions at nearly 14% of economic output, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation.

The government argues that the current system relying on the working population to pay for a growing age group of retirees is no longer fit for purpose.

Unions in France have called for a nationwide strike and protest this Thursday, hoping to bring the country to a standstill.

Writing by Tersoo Nicholas